Self Awareness Wolves

I’ve known Alexander for more than 10 years but I can remember meeting him like it was yesterday.

After a brief phone consultation we had set up a time to meet at the gym.

I asked him what I thought was a completely appropriate first question.

“Do you go by Alex or is it Alexander?” I asked.

“It’s Alexander,” he replied.

And then, after what seemed like a perfectly timed comedic pause he added, “unfortunately”.

Besides finding that response subtly hilarious (low key humor is my favorite), I find it to be the most perfectly simple example of self-awareness.

Alexander knew exactly how uptight he came across in giving that answer. But he also owned being that uptight, even though it also pained him.

It’s a beautiful thing, really.

Being self-aware in the gym is just as important. Knowing who you are and, most importantly, what you want to accomplish is critical to your success. I’ll give you some examples.

Mel is a runner. She loves running, it’s her favorite thing to do. She enters 2-3 marathons per year and her goal for training with us was to be more resilient to injuries. If her marathon time improved, all the better. When I first showed her the Engine Room (our conditioning facility with sleds, rowers, fan bikes, etc.) she fell in love. It was exactly the type of training that suited her. However, she needed strength training in order to truly accomplish what she set out to do.

Plus, putting the focus on conditioning when she was already running 40-50 miler per week didn’t make sense. The solution was simple: train in the Strength Club twice per week in order to help with the primary goal, attend the Engine Room once per week in order to scratch that itch and develop some energy systems she wasn’t tapping into while running.

For her, training with us more than three times per week, given her running demands, just didn’t make sense. This plan struck the perfect balance and ultimately took minutes off her already impressive marathon time.

Nick had gained more than 20 pounds during the pandemic and isn’t too pleased about it. He was anxious to get the extra fat off his body but feels way more comfortable under a barbell than on the seat of a rower. Luckily, his work from home situation gave him a lot of flexibility. So, for him, I recommended three days a week of strength training, three days per week of conditioning.

He has the time, he gets to spend half of it doing what likes while spending the other half doing what he needs (in reality, he needs both!). And the aggressive number of sessions per week is going to get him to his goal in the quickest, most efficient way possible. May as well make a big dent while he has the time.

Personally, I love lifting weights. Conditioning is tough for me. It knocks me on my ass for hours after it’s over. But training daily and experiencing our programs first hand are really important to me. So is being present and available to our clients. So I push really hard on the weights and take about 10% off of my conditioning efforts in order to be able to function the rest of the day.

Does this give me the best conditioning time on the board? No. But it keeps me in the game and allows me to do the other things that are important.

Being aware of your goals, strengths and limitations will not only accelerate your progress in the gym, it will drive up results in everything you do. Business, relationships, education, everything.

It allows you to get out of your own way by focusing on what you need and maximizing what you are good at.

It takes a real honest look at yourself, which is way harder to do than it is to type, but the result is powerful. If you find yourself being one of those people who is constantly banging their head against the wall or not having enough time to accomplish everything that you hope, self awareness is the key to getting you where you want to go.

I’m not a big believer of “hacks” when it comes to fitness or success but self-awareness might be just that. Take stock in what it is you can really do and pursue that with great intent. If you give it a try, let me know how it goes.

Alexander is going to read this. He doesn’t come to the gym anymore and is probably a bit bummed about it. But he lives 45 minutes away, has 3 small kids and is starting up a new business.

But I can’t help myself from hoping that he comes back.That one day he just walks through the door.

I miss people when they leave. And Im easily caught up in nostalgia.

I’m self aware enough to know that.